We’re All Lying by Marie Still
ISBN: 9781990253317 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781990253591 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781666629781 (Digital Audiobook
ASIN: B0BQP9HZCQ (Audible Audiobook)
ASIN: B0BD61MMWB (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 332
Publisher: Rising Action Publishing Co.
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Genre: Fiction | Psychological Thriller | Mystery Thriller
How far would you go to keep what’s yours?
Someone is hunting Cass.
Cass lives an enviable life: a successful career, two great kids, and a handsome husband. Then an email from her husband’s mistress, Emma, brings the façade of perfection crumbling around her, setting off a chain of events where buried secrets come back to haunt her.
A taunting email turns into stalking and escalates into much worse. Ethan and Cass try to move on, then Emma disappears.
No longer considered a victim, Cass finds herself the prime suspect and center of the investigation. Her dark secrets—including ones she didn’t know existed—threaten to destroy everything they’ve worked for.
A fast-paced psychological thriller with jaw-dropping twists, the novel examines buried family secrets and how desperation can lead to fatal mistakes when We’re All Lying.
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Read an Excerpt:
Present – Cass
Emma has run away, perhaps into the arms of another married man. Or maybe she’s floating beneath the glassy waters of the Everglades, slowly spinning in an eternal death waltz with the seagrass. Is her willowy body bloated, her porcelain skin gray and mottled? Has her shiny black hair now knotted around the roots of the cypress trees?
For some reason, the police officer who has rudely interrupted my evening is sitting in the living room in our temporary rental asking me to help find her—the woman who slept with my husband and ruined my life.
“Mrs. Mitchell?” Officer Daley says.
“Cass,” I say. “Haven’t we known each other long enough to lose the formalities? Call me Cass.”
My eyes shift from Officer Daley to Ethan, my once faithful and adoring husband. At least, the man I believed to be those things. I’m not so sure anymore. Our entire life may be a lie. He’s sitting here with me now, and she’s—well, who knows where she is, but is he really here? All of him? I squeeze my phone, a substitute for his neck.
Emma’s disappearance isn’t news. Hell, I was the one who tipped off the police in the first place. I want her found more than anyone. We deserve justice for what she’s done. However, Officer Daley showing up at the house unannounced tonight is a surprise, and I don’t like surprises.
This isn’t the first time we’ve sat with him, but on this night, it’s different. A weird energy crackles in the room. He’s asking me questions he already has the answers to. He should be out there instead, hunting her down. Doing whatever it takes to arrest her.
I inspect his movements, overanalyze every shift of his body and each twitch on his face. The belt around his waist holding his pistol, handcuffs, and other items looks foreign on him—too big and clunky for his tall, skinny frame. He fiddles with his belt, unable to find a comfortable position in the armchair, then clears his throat.
“There have been recent developments. I need to ensure we haven’t missed anything that will help us find Emma.”
I shudder when he looks at me. It’s like acrylic nails are scraping down my spine. He hasn’t learned how to hide his intentions and feelings behind a stony expression yet, like a more seasoned police officer would. Or like I do. It may be a skill he’ll never hone. This ability to morph and mold oneself into whichever persona is needed takes years of experience. When you grew up like I did, clawing your way out of the trailer park, swimming through a sea of syringes and shit, you become adept at these things. You know which occasions require which masks. You can become someone else, the person you want to be, rather than the person you are.
“Cass, you’re pale. Are you okay? Can I get you a drink?” Ethan’s blue eyes swim with concern as his eyebrows meet at the bridge of his nose. I wish I could smack the worried look off his handsome face. Yes, my mouth is dry, and my throat feels coated in sandpaper, but I don’t need my husband pointing out how bad I look in a police officer’s presence. He wasn’t always this stupid. Or maybe he has been, and I didn’t hate him enough to notice.
“I’m fine. But why don’t you get all of us some ice water?” I turn my head, unable to stand looking at him a second longer. He stands and walks to the kitchen.
My reflection stares back at me from the television hanging on the wall. I’m wearing navy blue leggings and an oversized knit sweater despite Florida’s scorching heat simmering outside. With my blonde hair framing my makeup-free face, I look like an innocent forty-year-old mom; the best look for this occasion. “Powerful advertising executive” may elicit the wrong assumptions. And right now, I don’t need any incorrect conjecture from our unwelcome visitor.
Emma has a mom, a distraught mom most likely. My daughter’s face flashes in my mind. I can’t imagine what the not knowing must be like. If Aubrey ever disappeared—no, I can’t think like that.
I shake my head and turn my attention back to Officer Daley. “What developments? You’ve been working my case for months now with zero progress.” I emphasize ‘my’ to remind him who the first victim was. Victim, the word is being thrown around so flippantly. Emma has probably run away, too afraid to face the consequences of her crimes. Of course, she did, she’s a child—much like my man-child of a husband who couldn’t keep it in his pants. His lack of self-control has left a wake of victims. His wife, his daughter, his son, and even Emma if I dig deep enough, past my anger, and really think about it.
“Let’s try starting from the beginning. Even the smallest detail may help. I know you want her found, too,” Officer Daley replies. He’s trying to establish trust, to come across as empathetic. He doesn’t realize the spaces surrounding his words are so revealing. I can’t trust him. Not anymore. Once again, I’ve put my trust in the hands of the wrong man.
Ethan rejoins us with my water, which I ignore. I sigh and glance from Daley to Ethan and back again. What a group we make. The cheating husband, the trustworthy police officer, who may not be so trustworthy after all, and me, the scorned wife with secrets of her own.
“You know about Emma and Ethan. And what Emma did to us. I’m trying to move on with my life, put her and all of it behind me. Is all this necessary?” I wish he’d fold shut the stupid little notebook his pen is hovering over, apologize for interrupting our evening, and leave. Aubrey’s face returns. I hate myself for the guilt souring my stomach, almost as much as I hate Ethan.
“I know this is hard—” he starts.
“No,” I interrupt him, leaning forward to meet his stare. “With all due respect, none of you knows how hard this is.” I wave my hand dramatically between them. How could they even pretend to know? No one knows what hell my life has been because of the affair and Emma’s persistent stalking.
After an awkward pause, he continues, “We simply want to find Emma. Her family is worried.”
“Then you should ask my dumbass husband where she is,” I say.
“Huh?” Ethan asks.
Oh shit, did I say that out loud?
I spin my wedding band around my finger to keep my thoughts from tumbling from my mouth. Ethan reaches for my hand. Now he wants to play the part of the caring husband. I pick up my glass and wrap both hands around it. He has the audacity to appear hurt. Does he not understand the gravity of our current situation? Officer Daley jots something down in his notebook. Fucking Ethan, always getting me in trouble. His myopic view that the world revolves around his need for affection and admiration got us into this mess, and now I‘ll have to get us out of it.
“Fine,” I relent, knowing if I don’t give Daley something, he’ll sit here staring at me all night with that notebook of his. “Am I correct in assuming that when you find her, she’ll be prosecuted?”
“Yes, your case is still open and active. If it’s proven she was involved, we’ll move forward with charges.”
If. When did her guilt come into question? I let my vision blur, then tell my story. At least the parts I’m willing to share.
We’re all liars, after all.
Excerpt from We’re All Lying by Marie Still.
Copyright © 2023 by Marie Still.
Published with permission. All rights reserved.
Meet the Author
MARIE STILL grew up obsessed with words and the dark and complex characters authors bring to life with them. Now she creates her own while living in Tampa with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a very grumpy hedgehog. Her debut novel, We’re All Lying will be released on March 14, 2023, from Rising Action Publishing. Beverly Bonnefinche is Dead and My Darlings will follow in late 2023 and 2024, respectively. She also writes under Kristen Seeley. Find out more about Marie at mariestill.com.
Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | TikTok | Twitter | Website
This is a giveaway for one (1) print Advance Review Copy (ARC) copy of We’re All Lying by Marie Still. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only. All entries by non-US residents will be voided. To enter use the Rafflecopter link below or click here.
This giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on 03/09/2023 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 03/15/2023. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 03/16/2023. Void where prohibited.
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